Gardner knew almost nothing of these gentlemen, and reports only that they purchased their business at 78 Bourke Street East in about 1860. The premises were previously occupied by booksellers Slater, Hodgson and Williams, and after Evans & Foster they were occupied by Mr Charles Muskett, also a bookseller (Gardner, 1911). Muskett's bookstore was, according to John Hope, 'regarded as "the" bookshop of Melbourne prior to the establishment of E.W. Cole's Book Arcade.'
Melbourne Directories in the Collection of the State Library of Victoria provide the names of the partners: Hugh C. Evans and Oswald Foster. Hugh C. Evans, aged 47, arrived in Melbourne on board the King Fisher in July 1857. This roughly tallies with Gardner's information that Mr. Evans was 'past middle age' when he and Foster bought the business in Bourke Street East. Gardner goes on to say that the business was sold after Evans' death. There is no record of an Oswald or an O. Foster entering through a Victorian port between 1852 and 1862.
By the time that Sands and Kenny were preparing their Melbourne Directory for 1858, Evans had established himself as a 'publisher and bookseller' at 94 Bourke Street East. He ran the business without a partner from this address until 1861. In 1859, 1860 and 1861 he placed advertisements in Melbourne Directories, drawing readers' attention to his 'Cheap book and stationery warehouse.' His services included bookbinding, engraving, copperplate printing, a circulating library and a range of cheap sheet music. In 1860 he was advertising songs such as 'Willie, we have missed you,' 'Nelly of Hazel Dell,' 'Beautiful Star,' and 'I'm leaving you in sorrow, Annie!'
In 1861 Evans moved his business to 78 Bourke Street East and made Oswald Foster a partner in the new business. In the Sands and McDougall directory for 1862 they described themselves as 'Booksellers, Stationers and Circulating Library.' The business was not listed after 1867, but a Mr. H.C. Evans' private residence in 63 George Street Fitzroy was. This suggests that Gardner's assertion that the business was sold after Evans' death was incorrect, and that Evans lived on following the end of his involvement in the store.
Gardner, F. (1911). 'Trade tokens and the firms who issued them.' The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 28 February, p.11
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens.' Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7. December, p.35.
Advertisements (1859,1860, 1861). Sands and McDougall Commercial and General Melbourne Directories... : Unnumbered pages.
Public Records Office of Victoria, internet index to Unassisted Immigration to Victoria 1852-1923. VPRS 7666
Hope, John (2005) 'History of Evans and Foster'. Unpublished MSS, 2pps.